GREENS Senator Sarah Hanson-Young charged taxpayers $2700 in flights, accommodation and chauffeur-driven cars in Sydney on the same weekend in 2013 that she partied at Mardi Gras.
An investigation by The Daily Telegraph has revealed Ms Hanson-Young received two VIP tickets from Mardi Gras organisers to attend the March 2 event.
That weekend the Adelaide-based Senator — who was spokeswoman for gay and lesbian issues at the time — claimed $744 for two nights of travel allowance, $994 in flights and $963 in Comcar travel.
She also claimed one night of travel allowance, valued at $363, to the 2012 Mardi Gras, when she sent out a media release about the event.
The 2013 trip included separate Comcar claims for more than $300 and $500 the day before the festival.
The Greens party has previously been questioned about their use of expensive chauffeur-driven Comcars.
When asked by The Daily Telegraph about the Mardi Gras weekend expenses, Ms Hanson-Young’s office said she was acting in her role as the Greens spokeswoman on gay issues.
“The senator was invited to attend Mardi Gras as the Greens’ portfolio holder for LGBTI and key sponsor of a Marriage Equality Bill,’’ a statement said.
“She has been invited to attend every year that she has held this portfolio. Both weekends of Mardi Gras for 2012 and 2013 listed were full weekends which included attending portfolio-related events, meetings and media commitments as are normally expected.”
The Comcar claims were not addressed in the statement.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called for a full review of parliamentary entitlements in the wake of Bishop’s “Choppergate” scandal.
He said a new system would be in place within months.
“The important thing is that everyone should operate within the rules,’’ he said. “What’s even more important is that we change the rules to make sure that what is within the rules is also within community expectations.
“I’m focused on trying to ensure that within a few months we have a new system … that engenders public confidence that members of parliament are doing what they need to do, but they’re doing it in a reasonable, prudent and, wherever possible, frugal way,” he said.